Sioux Avenue – A Personal Essay

The rain is heavier and hotter and saltier as it drips down my face. 

Sioux+Avenue+%E2%80%93+A+Personal+Essay

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Lindley McCutcheon, Guest Writer

Eight years old. 

The door clicks behind me. 

After watching my mother’s figure walk away into the shadows, I turn to face the street. 

It starts to drizzle. 

As I feel my shoes bend around the concrete steps, I see my brother.

Eleven years old.

I take two lefts and grab my bike. 

I ride.

And ride.

And ride.

And I feel my legs start to shake and I dismount the bike. 

As I stare down at my pink flip flops, the hot rain hits my shoulders harder until it creates a thundering rhythm. 

Sheets of water slam down on my street. 

I take a break. 

My brother appears from the alley, baseball bat in hand. 

My eyes begin to widen, searching for a flashing red ‘EXIT’ Sign. 

My legs wake. 

I pray that I’m more agile than I think. 

I back away to grab my bike, but he’s faster. 

He’s bigger. 

He grabs my bike, unmanned on the sidewalk, lifts his leg over the frame, and starts to pedal. 

I run. 

Less than two steps a square, the sidewalk glides beneath me like a moving walkway, pushing me forward in my time of need. 

Turn right. 

Behind me, the sounds of the gravel being upturned grows louder and nearer.

Run over the bumpy driveway.

I can’t afford to fall.

Second right. 

The long block. 

I stare in the far distance as I see how much I have to cover before my next turn. 

The wind rushes past my ears like never before. 

I hear him approaching. 

My feet move faster as the corner becomes closer. 

Third right. 

Short block, lots of bumps and cracks – he’s forced to bike in the street. 

Fourth right. 

Home stretch.

Rain is pouring harder now, my hair so soaked and heavy. 

Left shoe breaks and the rubber strap pops out of the hole in the bottom of my 99-cent flip-flop. 

I see the door. 

Last right. 

Up the stairs.

Last few steps.

He’s close. 

Push down the handle. 

It’s locked. 

I pound on the door until my knuckles are hot, throbbing as hard as my blood is pumping.

The rain is heavier and hotter and saltier as it drips down my face. 

With a look of confusion, my mother opens the door. 

I lock myself in my room. 

I cry. 

 

Eight years later. 

 

The door clicks behind me.

I turn around on my stoop and face the street.

One step.

Two step.

Three step.

Seven in the morning.

Birds are singing.

Dew still rests on the fresh green blades.

A chilly June morning.

The world has a grey undertone—

It’s going to rain. 

I take a hammer and a sign, get on my bike, and go to the end of my block.

Thunk! Thunk! Thunk!

The sign stands:

“GARAGE SALE!”

I bike back with no hands – years of experience under my belt.

Time to bring out the tables.

Preset in the backyard,

He and I carry out our big table while my sister sets up stuffed animals to sell. 

Sioux is quiet.

Silence covers my family in the mornings.

No one wants to be up.

There’s a certain sharpness in our turns and in our voices.

He appears from the alley.

Flashbacks from eight years prior flood my mind.

As the fear creeps in, he asks me a question.

My thoughts elsewhere, I can’t hear him.

I ask him to repeat what he said.

He refuses.

I ask again.

Birds stop singing.

Dew slips to the ground.

Rain falls.

 

“Bitch.”

 

Echoes through the street.

Tears fall, mixing with the rain.

One step.

Two step.

Three step.

Back inside. 

Breathe.

Head back out.

This is a normal day.

 

One year later.

 

A Greyhound bus pulls into the station.

He steps out, clad in Scottish plaid.

He hugs me.

I back away and cock my head.

He smiles.

I exhale.